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Identifying and Meeting a Child’s Language Needs

03/04/09
by Pam Wright

My son was adopted from a foreign country @ age 7. He is now 9 years old, in the 3rd grade. He did not speak English upon his arrival in this country.

We have formally requested (& it has been documented) 3 times, that he be placed in the SLD Resource Program.

He is currently given the title of ESOL student, although he has never attended an ESOL school.

Can you tell me what the Federal Law says about the requirements for qualifying a child designated ESOL for an SLD classification?

We all know that children must be proficient in English before they can become proficient in other subjects. If your child does not speak or understand English well, the IEP team needs to ensure that your child’s language needs are identified and met.

The team must get an assessment of your child’s English proficiency. This assessment must include objective data about your child’s reading, writing, speaking, and understanding skills.

NE DOE has checklist for determining need and services –

From http://www.nde.state.ne.us/sped/iepproj/factors/lep.html

If your child’s English is limited, the school must provide alternative language services to help him become proficient in English. He is entitled to all educational services provided by the school, including special education and related services.

If he is not proficient in English, the IEP team must ensure that special education and related services are provided in his native language. The IEP must specify his needs for instruction in English and/or his native language, and his needs for English language tutoring.

If your child has a disability and is eligible for special education and related services, the IEP team must review his language needs as they develop his IEP. The team must determine how his limited English affects his needs for special education and related services.

The IEP team needs to make decisions about:

  • Whether he will receive instruction in English and/or in his native language so he can participate in the general curriculum
  • Whether he needs tutoring in English as a service in his IEP to meet his individual needs
  • Whether the special education and related services he needs will be provided in his native language.

If your child needs test accommodations that are allowed for general ed students with limited English proficiency (e.g. increased time, translating directions into the student’s native language, etc.), these accommodations should be written in his IEP.

Search your state dept of ed web site – you can often find great help there. http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/seas.htm

Use Google to search for information. Be creative in your search terms. Search for information using terms like this: “limited English proficiency” “special factors” “IEP” “language needs” etc.

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7 Comments on "Identifying and Meeting a Child’s Language Needs"


03/25/2014

The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to notify parents of children with Limited English Proficiency about the child’s level of English proficiency, how the level was assessed, the child’s academic achievement levels, the methods being used to teach the child, how the program will help the child learn English, and when the child is expected to complete the program. 20 U.S.C. 6312(g)

If your child has a disability, his IEP team makes decisions about how his language affects his needs for special education and related services. The IEP team must decide if his special ed will be provided in English or in his native language and if he needs tutoring in English in his IEP.

You need a comprehensive evaluation of your child that clarifies his needs for specific language services.

03/17/2014

Please cite the law you reference in this statement, “If your child’s English is limited, the school must provide alternative language services to help him become proficient in English. He is entitled to all educational services provided by the school, including special education and related services.”
I could really use it!!
Thanks!

Martha S
12/04/2010

My 17 yr old adopted Ukrainian son was denied SLD eligibility due to “limited English proficiency,” although the neuropsych provided a Russian/English eval that indicated SLD in both languages. The LEA Director of sped unilaterally denied him services even tho he was told that his learning/language disorders are contributing to his inability to learn English. He came from an orphanage for LD kids and his teachers reported numerous struggles in reg ed 9th grade. Nonetheless, Director over-ruled team to deem him ineligible. Please advise.

Kimberly
09/29/2010

My daughter is in a Dual Immersion Program (Spanish). She has been fluent in Spanish since she has been able to talk. She has been tested in English by a Speech Pathologist and an Educational Psychologist and will be tested this week in Spanish in both areas.
I want to know if the district will be required to give her services in Spanish since she is receiving 80% of her academic instruction in Spanish? It only makes sence to me however, I can not find a law or article anywhere that states that for me.

Katy
06/08/2009

I am an ESL/TESOL teacher. This lady’s son cannot be classifed as LD just because he is an English Language Learner (ELL). He shouldn’t have an IEP based soley on his classification as an ELL. Language issues need to be ruled out before he’s classified as LD or put in a special ed. classroom. Based upon his testing (in NY we use the LAB-R to test into ESL and the NYSESLAT to test out) he should qualify for an amount of time when he is specifically instructed in ESL. If he is getting this instruction, address your concerns to his ESL teacher. Educate yourselves about the complexity of learning English as a second language. How much formal schooling did he have before you adopted him? What’s his native language? Too often, in the past, ELLs were classified as LD because of their language deficits.